British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Oct 31, 2020

Skelton-Cline calls out ‘VINO Boycotters’ for silence over Gov’s reparation statement

Skelton-Cline calls out ‘VINO Boycotters’ for silence over Gov’s reparation statement

Honestly Speaking radio moderator, Mr Claude O. Skelton has called out the hypocrisy of those who were quick to condemn and harass businesses to boycott Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) over a cartoon, yet remain silent over comments from a sitting Governor that the UK does not intend to pay slavery reparations to the Virgin Islands.
No reparations form UK to VI - Governor Jaspert


On Monday, September 7, 2020, H.E. Augustus J.U Jaspert speaking during an interview with 284 Media said paying reparations to the VI for acts of slavery and the slave trade is not the position of the Crown at the moment, hinting that the VI should expect nothing.

He also called for relics of slavery to be preserve, such as landmarks that were named after the very people, like Sir Francis Drake, who inflicted decades of harm, rape, abuse and suffering on the ancestors of Virgin Islanders and other Caribbean people.

Now according to Mr Skelton-Cline on the Thursday, September 17, 2020, edition of his 'Honestly Speaking' show, the silence of VI’s most outspoken voices regarding the boycott of VINO now speaks volumes even as Governor Jaspert continues to evade community calls for an apology to be made for his statements.


On Monday, September 7, 2020, H.E. Augustus J.U Jaspert speaking during an interview with 284 Media said paying reparations to the Virgin Islands for acts of slavery and the slave trade is not the position of the Crown at the moment, hinting that the VI should expect nothing.

Locals were willing to boycott VINO over cartoon – Skelton-Cline


“A few months ago… we had some of our own local people here, businesses, private persons, up in arms when a certain online news agency did a cartoon with the UK foot on our necks and they depicted this present Governor and myself,” Skelton-Cline said.

He continued, “And you were up in arms protesting… about how in poor taste this cartoon is... that really bespeaks the truth and the reality of where we are,” he said.

VINO, in a statement on June 15, 2020, said the cartoon in question was created out of statements made the commentator Mr Skelton-Cline on his Honestly Speaking weekly show on June 9, 2020, when he likened some of the actions and policies of the United Kingdom and the current Governor as having their knees on VI’s collective neck.

The 'knee on the neck' phrase was made popular after African American George P. Floyd Jr, 46, was killed on May 25, 2020, when a white Minneapolis officer pressed a knee on Floyd’s neck for about 8 minutes and 46 seconds before he died, sparking racial injustice movements around the world.


According to Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline on the Thursday, September 17, 2020, edition of the Honestly Speaking Show, the silence of VI’s most outspoken voices regarding the boycott of VINO now speaks volumes even as Governor Jaspert continues to evade community calls to apologise for the statements.

Small outrage over cartoon in VI


However, the Virgin Islands, the cartoon resulted in several community members allegedly trying to strong-arm businesses into boycotting VINO and calling for mass protest over the depiction.

Persons included Dr Michael A. Turnbull, who is the brother of Opposition Member Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) and former Vice-President of the National Democratic Party (NDP); Mr Aaron F. Parillon, who unsuccessfully contested the Third District seat as a member of the NDP at the February 2019 general elections; and a former Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Mrs Geraldine Ritter-Freeman, who was ousted from her post months after the September 2017 hurricanes.

A Ms Esther N. Fraser had also moved to allegedly harass businesses to boycott advertising on VINO, and on an episode of the low budget talk show ‘Cut Deep’, host Rosemary R. Rosan-Jones aka ‘Cindy’ had strongly opposed VINO’s cartoon and joined calls for the publication to be boycotted.


VINO, in a statement on June 15, 2020, said the cartoon in question was created out of statements made by commentator Skelton-Cline on his Honestly Speaking weekly show on June 9, 2020, when he likened some of the actions and policies of the United Kingdom and the current Governor as having their knees on VI’s collective neck.

Where are the voices now? – Skelton-Cline questions


Skelton-Cline in his Thursday commentary further questioned, “y’all wanted to boycott the online news agency, you call for all kinds of things, where are you now? Where is your voice? Have you lost your tongue?”

“That the Governor has said these kinds of things… you ran to his protection, rant to the UK defence and here now, the UK’s representative has insulted you, desecrated on the graves of your ancestors…” and silence, he said.

The man of the cloth said those who called for the boycott of VINO were ‘quick to protect the massa, but you won’t run to the protection of your fore-parents and the sacrifices that they have made to get us where we are today.”

Skelton-Cline further remarked, “but when it comes to protecting your ancestors, some of you same businesspeople, some of you same private citizens, you have said nothing!”


From top Left: Persons calling for VINO Boycott included Dr Michael A. Turnbull, who is the brother of Opposition Member Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) and former Vice-President of the National Democratic Party (NDP); Mr Aaron F. Parillon, who unsuccessfully contested the Third District seat as a member of the NDP at the February 2019 general elections; and a former Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Mrs Geraldine Ritter-Freeman. Bottom Left: Esther N. Fraser & Rosemary R. Rosan-Jones.

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